Crowdfunding Participants Control Trash Bots To Clean Up City Rivers

Crowdfunding Participants Control Trash Bots To Clean Up City Rivers

Urban Rivers gamified its Kickstarter campaign for a remote-controlled robot that picks up trash in the Chicago River

Mario Valdivieso
  • 17 april 2018

Efforts to clean up our rivers, lakes, and oceans from decades of pollution is easier said than done, given the amount of trash found in waterways. A Chicago based environmental non-profit is attempting to take a more tech-augmented approach to this problem by developing trash bots that could help on a massive scale.

Urban Rivers is currently crowdfunding a remote-controlled robot that’s sole purpose is to pick up trash in the Chicago River. Though there are problems in bodies of water all over the World, the Chicago River contains so much trash and pollution that it isn’t remotely safe for swimmers, making it a good place to start. With that in mind, the group has developed a prototype for the floating trash bot to aid the conservation effort—with an added twist.

To encourage people to contribute to the trash bot Kickstarter campaign in March, Urban Rivers decided to gamify the experience by letting donors control the robot. The idea is to turn environmental clean-up into a fun task and help the community take an interactive role in helping their city and planet. With a strong Wi-Fi transmitter, the game won’t only be available to Chicagoans but to anyone who wants to participate. Points will be awarded for those who can pick up the most trash with the bot. With the funds earned on Kickstarter, Urban Rivers is building a second trash bot.

The money raised will also go into preventing the bot from being used for anything other than trash pick up. The hope of Urban River co-founder Nick Wesley is that the game will be so engaging for users that it will make a significant dent in the amount of trash in the Chicago River. “We really hope that one day, this game is just so boring, because there’s no trash left to clean,” he said in the Kickstarter video. Those interested can now join a wait list to control the trash bot when it is up and running.

Urban Rivers

+Urban Rivers

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